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Joe Biden visits Texas shooting memorial as US Department of Justice announces review into police response



President Joe Biden has visited the scene of the deadly Texas school shooting to pay his respects to those who lost their lives.

The US leader and first lady Jill Biden arrived at the town of Uvalde and first visited the memorial outside Robb Elementary school.

They took a moment to view each of the 21 white crosses – representing the 19 children and two children were killed – erected in honour of the victims, and lay white roses in front of the school’s sign.

The Bidens attended mass at the Sacred Heart church where they encountered protesters who pleaded with the president to “do something”, prompting him twice to respond: “We will.”

Mr Biden later tweeted that he grieves, prays and stands with the people of Uvalde. “And we are committed to turning this pain into action,” he said.

Mckinzie Hinojosa, whose cousin Eliahana Torres was killed on Tuesday, said she respected Mr Biden’s decision to mourn with the people of Uvalde. “It’s more than mourning,” she said. “We want change. We want action. It continues to be something that happens over and over and over. A mass shooting happens. It’s on the news. People cry. Then it’s gone. Nobody cares. And then it happens again. And again.”

Accompanying the Bidens was Texas governor Greg Abbott, a Republican who is a staunch supporter of gun rights.

The president has fortified his calls for stricter gun control

(AP)

The Bidens attended mass after paying their respects at Robb Elementary School

(Reuters)

The couple also met the families who lost loved ones, survivors and first responders of the tragedy to hear their stories and offer consolation.

The trip to Uvalde marks Mr Biden’s third presidential visit on account of a mass shooting, having paid his respects to the 10 victims of a gun attack on a supermarket in Buffalo earlier this month.

It comes as the US Justice Department said it will review law enforcement’s response to the Robb Elementary tragedy amid contradictory accounts of what transpired.

It said the review would be conducted in a fair and impartial manner, and aimed to “provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and response that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events”.

The critical mistakes made by police are also being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety which is seeking to determine the motive behind the gunman’s attack and why he was not intercepted sooner.

Democratic Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez said “we’re all angry” over the police response to the shooting.

“At the end of the day, everybody failed here,” he said. “We failed these children. We even failed them in the Texas legislature.”



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